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KC Parks News

  1. Residents Invited to Help Shape Citywide Budget Priorities

    The City of Kansas City, Missouri, is again asking residents to join the discussion to help shape the citywide priorities that will serve as critical guidelines for the next five years.

    Councilmembers are collecting information they’ll use to set the next budget. Feedback from residents is always appreciated, but it’s especially helpful when delivered in person.

    So if you’re solution-oriented, forward-thinking and eager to share your thoughts about building a better Kansas City, then you’ll have four opportunities to let your voice be heard.

    The first work session for residents is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Park Hill School District Administration Building. This is one of four forums designed to be interactive, entertaining and informative.

    Participants will break into focus groups to discuss their goals and visions for the City’s future. They’ll also be able to see how proposed objectives are prioritized as well as help create policy and direction for the City by working with other residents to build and balance the budget.

    Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner will provide the welcome and overview at each session and participants also will have one-on-one access to directors and managers from various city departments.

    This input will be used to finalize the five-year Citywide Business Plan, which must be adopted by Nov. 1, 2017. The four identical sessions are:

    Saturday, Oct. 7 | 9-11 a.m.
    Park Hill School District, Administration Bldg. Room 230
    7703 NW Barry Rd.

    Tuesday, Oct. 10| 6 -8 p.m.
    Avila University, Whitfield Conference Room
    11901 Wornall Rd.

    Wednesday, Oct. 18 | 6-8 p.m.
    Bruce R. Watkins Center
    3700 Blue Pkwy.

    Thursday, Oct. 19 | Noon-2 p.m.
    Kansas City Health Dept., Multipurpose Room
    2400 Troost Ave.

    Space is limited so reservations are encouraged. Please RSVP to reserve your seat at one of the four sessions:  call 816-513-1173 or reserve by email.

    For more information, contact Chris Hernandez, City Communications Director, at 816-513-3474 or by email.

  2. Ribbon Cutting for New Trailside Center Parking Lot and Time Capsule Burial

    21827462_1971986846406073_1236538964467253248_nOn September 22, community leaders celebrated the past, present and future of South Kansas City at a time capsule burial ceremony and ribbon cutting for the new parking lot at the Trailside Center.  The lot was a former restaurant and blighted parking lot. Construction began in March and was recently completed with 31 total parking spaces, two of which are ADA. There is also bicycle parking with a repair station.  KC Parks designed the lot and Mega Industries Corporation was the contractor.  Other interesting facts include:

    • Earthwork – 350+ cubic yards
    • Concrete – 100+ cubic yards
    • Asphalt – 13,700 square feet
    • Trees planted– 41
    • Limestone fence posts installed – 9

    In addition to the parking lot opening, a time capsule filled with South KC memorabilia was buried. Plans are for it to be dug up in 2067.  More about the Time Capsule Contents>>

  3. CELEBRATE A NATURAL PHENOMENON: Monarch Migration In Kansas City

    monarchCelebrate the mind-boggling, awe-inspiring, beauty of the seasonal monarch migration at Jacob L. Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Wornall Rd., KCMO, Saturday, September 23rd 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

    Hosted by the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative (KCNPI), Monarch fans can pretend to fly a miniature migration route while observing caterpillars, chrysalises and adult butterflies close-up. During the free event, learn how to identify and tag Monarchs as they reach Kansas City on their migration route to Mexico for the winter months.

    In addition to having your face painted and enjoying a popsicle, guests can take home a little bit of Monarch habitat for their own backyard. Start a Monarch garden with free milkweed and nectar plants donated by Prairie Whisper Gardens, Green Thumb Gardens, Applied Ecological Services and Grow Native!

    Monarchs are the only butterflies in North America that make such a long, two-way migration every year. Some individual butterflies travel over 3,000 miles and can fly at altitudes as high as 10,000 ft. High winds like those experienced with recent hurricanes can blow Monarchs off-course making it even more important to have flowers with nectar available to help fuel them on their journey.

    “We have some fascinating and informative activities scheduled.” said Kathy Gates, President of KCNPI, “Kids and adults alike will enjoy this unique, up-close opportunity to connect with the magic of these beautiful creatures.”

    When:  Saturday, September 23rd 10am – 1pm
    Where: Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Wornall Rd., KCMO

    Kansas City Native Plant Initiative (KCNPI) partners share a vision of beautiful, native landscapes connecting heartland communities where nature and people thrive together. Their mission is to increase community knowledge of the importance of preserving and expanding native landscapes for generations to come.

    For more information, visit: kcnpi.org

  4. Still Time to See Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence Exhibition

    KC-Parks_Chillida_245x245In May, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and KC Parks opened an new temporary exhibition, Chillida-Rhythm-Time-Silence. Four sculptures are on view in Theis Park and three are on display in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park on the south lawn of the museum through December 3, 2017. Admission is free.

    This exhibition presents seven large-scale sculptures by internationally esteemed Spanish sculptor, Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002). For the first time, Kansas City visitors will see work by this innovative, sometimes witty, but always powerful artist.

    About Eduardo Chillida
    Spanish artist Eduardo Chillida made his career a life-long study of mass and form within space. His education began in architecture at the University of Madrid, but he abandoned this path to devote time primarily to sculpture. Yet, Chillida’s sculptural works reveal this early architectural training through structural organization, development of various materials, spatial relationships and experimentation with monumental and small scale.

    Early in his career, Chillida focused on traditional representations of the figural form in plaster and stone. Returning to his homeland of the Basque region of Spain in 1951, Chillida’s vision changed to abstraction and its interference within its physical space. His favored medium also changed to the unyielding materials of iron, wood and steel in a specific nod to the industrial practices of the Basque region, particularly ore mining and blacksmithing.

    Chillida’s work experimented in many dualities – interior space and exterior shape, solid mass and empty voids, simplicity and balance, weight and weightlessness. Regarding his sculptures, the artist states they are “a rebellion against gravity.”

  5. Minor Park featured in The Pitch

    Minor Park’s more-than-minor wonders: history, riverfront hiking and a busy cricket league in south Kansas City by April Fleming, The Pitch

    Minor_Park___Blue_River_Trails_01.59a6ce8f528baBeginning almost two centuries ago and continuing for 35 years, the grassy hills now a part of Kansas City’s Minor Park were rutted by constant wagon traffic from travelers on the Oregon, Santa Fe and California trails, most of which originated in the region. Just west of where the old Red Bridge now sits was a muddy bog in which wagons often became stuck. Deep swales from the three pioneer routes are still visible today, marked with a shabbily kept but informative National Park Service plaque.

    For its history alone, then, Minor Park is a worthy local attraction. Plus, it features several amenities — park shelters, tennis courts, a public golf course and soccer fields. But the 200-acre space also boasts miles of winding, lush river-bottom trails (maintained by dedicated volunteers and conservationists who supplement efforts by the city’s parks employees to eradicate not only trash but also invasive plants, including honeysuckle) ideal for mountain bikers, runners and dog walkers. Here, in fact, is a soothing respite from summer’s hottest blasts: With a dense canopy of tall trees blocking or softening the sunlight, the trails are often 10 degrees cooler than areas outside the bottoms’ protection. The water in the Blue River, along which much of the trails run, is surprisingly cool and clear, and is home to fish, ducks, geese and turtles.

    Much of the area has never been developed (Marie Minor Sanborn donated the land, which had long been in her family, to the city in 1941), and remains so quietly lovely that you can forget you arrived here having traveled through traffic-lashed sprawl. Only the shrill call of a train — a freight line bisects the park — interrupts your meditation.

    With children’s soccer largely migrating toward Johnson County’s mega-complexes, Minor Park’s abundance of grassy sporting fields (there are dozens of them) have, in recent years, begun to attract more eclectic endeavors. Adult-league football and drone-flying are sanctioned here, and the Midwest Cricket League, several teams strong, has also found a home in the park, playing just south of the old Red Bridge every weekend from late April to mid-October. (Pictured here: Pak XI squaring off against the UMKC Mystics.)

    The north entrance to Minor Park is located on Red Bridge Road between Holmes and Blue River Road. Trailheads can be found along Blue River Road and along the paved path accessible at Minor Park’s north entrance. Bring insect repellent — this place is as buggy as a river bottom of any century.

    Link to The Pitch article>>

    More about Minor Park>>


    Starlight_Grease_LogoGrease is the word at Starlight Theatre now through Thursday, Sept. 14. The beloved musical that features 1950s’ high school romance and rock ‘n’ roll will cruise across the Starlight stage like Greased Lightnin’ for six performances, opening on Friday night, Sept. 8 and continuing through Sept. 14.

    Rehearsals for Grease, Starlight’s only locally produced musical of the 2017 Broadway season, began Aug. 28 under the experienced tutelage of director Philip Wm. McKinley (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), choreographer Paula Lynn and music director Anthony Edwards. The talented 45-person cast includes several professional actors from Kansas City as well as principals and ensemble cast members hailing from New York, Chicago and Las Vegas, a number of whom have Kansas City roots.

    Since it debuted on Broadway in 1972, where it ran for eight years and 3,388 performances, Grease has morphed into an entertainment franchise. The original musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, which earned seven Tony® Award nominations and two Drama Desk Awards, has spawned a hit movie (1978), two Broadway revivals (1994 and 2007), a TV reality show “Grease: You’re the One That I Want” (2007), and, most recently, the Grease, Live! TV performance on FOX (2016).

    At the heart of the musical’s story is the budding romance of bad boy Danny Zuko and virtuous new girl Sandy Dumbrowski. When the two wind up at the same high school in the fall, their summer love is put to the test by the familiar forces of peer pressure and close-knit cliques, personified by Danny’s gang of Greasers and Sandy’s soon-to-be-friends, the Pink Ladies. Through the halls of Rydell High to the Burger Palace, drive-in movie and pajama parties, Starlight audiences will ride along as Danny and Sandy navigate the trials of young love.

    Taking on the lead roles in Grease are Timothy Michael Quinn as Danny and Heidi Webster as Sandy. Both are making their Starlight debuts. Originally from the Chicago area but now based in New York, Quinn previously performed as Danny in a production directed by West End director/choreographer Gary Lloyd. His other recent credits include Damn Yankees, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Cuff Me: The 50 Shades of Grey Parody. Webster most recently starred in Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers in Las Vegas where she resides. She began her career singing with Holland America Cruise Lines and Tokyo Disneyland.

    At the helm of Grease’s creative team, McKinley returns to Kansas City to direct his 11th musical at Starlight. With this show, he ties the directorial record of Jack Allison, who was a fixture at Starlight from the mid-1980s through the early ‘90s. McKinley’s most recent Starlight directing credits are Disney’s Mary Poppins (2015) and The Sound of Music (2014). He previously directed Grease at Starlight in 1999 and has helmed The Wizard of Oz three times at Starlight, most recently in 2007. McKinley brings strong Broadway credits to Starlight. He was charged with taking over as director of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark after Julie Taymor’s exit. Under his direction, the musical spectacular earned a box-office record of nearly $3 million in one week. He also directed The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman, Thawk and the Off-Broadway hit Zombie Prom.

    Lynn has choreographed alongside McKinley on several previous productions at Starlight, including The Wizard of Oz, Phantom and The Sound of Music. Edwards’ credits for music direction and conducting are expansive at Starlight and at theatres across Kansas City and regionally.

    “With the speed at which we have to rehearse and stage our self-produced shows, we definitely want to bring in the ‘A Team’ of creatives,” said Rich Baker, Starlight President and CEO. “In the span of just 12 days, this highly talented gathering of creatives and performers will deliver a production of Grease that I believe will match up to anything audiences have seen on Broadway or from national tours. While it’s a big commitment of resources to self-produce musicals, we are thrilled to be able to deliver a top-quality show and spotlight a lot of homegrown talent on the Starlight stage!”

    Performers in Grease who are either based in Kansas City or have roots in the community or nearby are:

    • Don Denton (Kenickie) spent his high school years in Topeka, Kan., often performing at the Helen Hocker Theater.
    • Cathy Barnett (Miss Lynch) previously performed at Starlight in The Producers (2010) and The Sound of Music (2014). She has appeared in shows at numerous Kansas City theatres and also portrays the Hallmark greeting card character “Maxine.”
    • Steven Eubank (Eugene) made his theatre debut as a child in Big River at Starlight in 1993, under the direction of McKinley. He is the artistic director for Kansas City’s Egads! Theatre Company.
    • Anthony J. Gasbarre, III (Sonny), now a New York City resident, grew up in Kansas City and was a member of Starlight’s education program, the Starlight STARS performance troupe, in 2010. He previously performed at Starlight in Xanadu and Cinderella in 2011.
    • Eric Geil (Roger) earned his Equity card at Starlight when he performed in The Sound of Music in 2014. He is currently taking a brief leave of absence from the national tour of The Book of Mormon to return home to perform in Grease.
    • Daxton Bloomquist (Ensemble) also earned his Equity card at Starlight when he performed in The Producers in 2010, immediately after graduating from Wichita State University. The El Dorado, Kan., native moved to New York and was cast in both the Broadway production and national tour of The Book of Mormon.
    • Joel Chambers (Ensemble) returns home to Kansas City to perform in Grease.
    • Gabbie Fried (Ensemble) was a member of the 2010 Starlight STARS and is appearing in her first Starlight show. She is now based in New York.
    • Courtney Germany (Sheila’s Voice, Ensemble) was a 2006 recipient of Starlight’s Vincent Legacy Scholarship, has been a teaching artist and assistant for multiple Starlight education programs, has performed in the Starlight Annual Benefit Gala several times, and makes her professional theatre debut in Grease.
    • Daria LeGrand (Ensemble), a Kansas City native, has previously performed at Starlight in Annie and The Wizard of Oz.
    • Erik Sobbe (Scientist’s Voice, Ensemble), a Kansas City native, starred as Aladdin in Starlight’s Children’s Theatre production of Disney’s Aladdin in 2012.

    The Blue Star Teen Ensemble in Grease is made up of 15 talented high school performers whose schools participate in Starlight’s Blue Star Awards program. The ensemble members and their high schools are: Margaret Ahearn (Saint Thomas Aquinas), Danielle Blankenship (Oak Park), Jordan DeLeon (Olathe South), Amanda Dulny (Shawnee Mission Northwest), Jessica Haney (Lee’s Summit West), Katie Hulla (Saint Thomas Aquinas), Holly Jackson (Shawnee Mission West), Alexa Morgan (St. James Academy), J.P. O’Donnell (Blue Valley, now at UMKC), Megan Secrest (Olathe South), Fisher Stewart (Olathe West), Devyn Trondson (Shawnee Mission Northwest), Megan Walstrom (Shawnee Mission East), Garrett Williams (Liberty North) and Tori Wyatt (Truman).

    Tickets for Grease at Starlight Theatre are on sale now starting at $14. Tickets are available online at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. All performances begin at 8 p.m. Discount prices for groups of 10 or more are available. For information about group pricing, contact group sales coordinator Camille Sumrall at 816.997.1137 or groups@kcstarlight.com.

    About Starlight Theatre
    Starlight Theatre, a recent winner of the Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second-largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. Opened as a theater in 1950 and as a not-for-profit organization in 1951, Starlight presents and produces Broadway musicals and concerts. It also offers extensive community outreach and educational programming, including classes, scholarships and Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, one of the largest high school musical theatre award programs in the nation.Located on 16 acres in Swope Park, Starlight’s venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage. For more information, visit www.kcstarlight.com.